For some of us, law school was a horrifying place, filled with terror and dread. Fortunately, there’s Halloween—a time when we can collectively put our fears out in the open and (hopefully) conquer them. So, in honor of Halloween, Bitter Lawyer is revealing the spooky truth about real law school monsters.
1. THE GHOST
At best, you saw this guy when the seating chart was handed out on the first day. A master of disguise, he took a spot somewhere near the back, but not so far from the professor’s firing line that he’d draw attention to himself. Maybe he even took the bold step of volunteering to brief a case in the first week when everyone else was too busy being scared shitless. But since then, he’s been an apparition. There are rumors of his whereabouts (anywhere from the city morgue to the Third World brothel), but nobody knows for sure—he’s a ghost and he appears on his own time.
Still, never bet against the ghost. Like that guy who got stuck in the bathroom in Summer School, he may just float in, take finals, and he may just get the best grade in the class… and then vanish.
2. THE ESCAPED MENTAL PATIENT
This chick (it’s usually a chick) may look normal. But she’s not. Law school is just a cover for her. And if she didn’t have a decent LSAT score, there’s no telling where she’d be.
Psycho is probably an understatement. She’ll hide casebooks, even in the Internet age. She’ll spread the rumor that an afternoon class has been canceled just to see how many fellow students she can keep from attending. She’ll binge on Diet Coke and NoDoz come finals time, and if she even gets an inkling that it will help her grades, she will cut you.
3. THE ZOMBIE
The thing about zombies is that they have a way of multiplying faster than Gremlins, and there comes a point in every semester where your law school looks more like Zombieland than The Paper Chase.
The students in your section only resemble people. Inside, their hearts are gone, their souls are crushed, and their brains exist only to determine the ownership of Blackacre or the liability of A to B.
But what’s most terrifying about zombies is that you yourself may become one.
Thankfully, there are warning signs:
• If your non-law school friends don’t understand a word you’re saying, you’re at risk.
• If you find yourself signing in to Lexis for “fun,” you’re a zombie. Seek help.
• If eating guacamole, you find yourself chatting to anyone who will listen about the Dormant Commerce Clause, you’re a zombie with no hope of ever again becoming mortal.
4. THE VAMPIRE
This guy/gal takes on the form of a bloodsucker for a reason—they’re always trying to borrow your notes or mooch off your hard work.
Conversations may begin with an innocuous opening like, “Did you understand that discussion of personal jurisdiction in Civ. Pro today?”
Whether you understood it or not, you should immediately be on guard. Ask yourself, “Is this person a Vampire, or do they bring something to the table?”
Feel free to judge them harshly. Did they fail to grasp that day’s material because it was so challenging that it eluded most of the class? Or, were they in the dark because they were busy sucking the blood out of a quiz on Facebook? Or, perhaps they don’t understand anything, and never will.
It’s your call to make. But remember, just like with the legend, they can’t come in unless you invite them, so don’t give the Vampire the time of day, and make everyone in your study group wear garlic necklaces.
5. THE WEREWOLF
By day, he’s your average law student—overstressed and over-worked. But at night it’s a different story. More beast than man, the Werewolf is one monster worth knowing, because he knows how to blow off steam. While everyone else is crammed into the library, the Werewolf is bending the ear of a local bartender or organizing a midnight rally to an area casino.
True, his grades have been known to suffer, but the Werewolf isn’t in it for the grades. He finished 1L in the middle of the pack, crunched the numbers, and realized that he’d never crack the top third. So, instead the Werewolf elected to devote his last two years of law school to hedonistic pursuits, knowing that once he enters the workforce, he’ll either have to buckle down or risk being implicated in a New York Post expose on a hooker and cocaine ring gone bad.
For the time being, the Werewolf is the only monster you want to know. The Ghost knows nothing about his midnight expeditions; The Escaped Mental Patient hooked up with him and now avoids him like the plague; The Zombies envy him; and the Vampires aren’t hungry for what he knows.